The New Orleans Saints will have eight picks in the 2018 NFL Draft to improve as a football team. Here is their latest 2018 NFL mock draft.
2017 was a strong year for the New Orleans Saints. They won the NFC South for the first time since 2011, making it back into the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2013. Last year’s Saints team was balanced with great running back play, solid defense and the ever-present greatness of quarterback Drew Brees.
While the Saints were technically good enough to reach and win the Super Bowl, they came up a play short on the Minneapolis Miracle. Case Keenum’s Hail Mary to Stefan Diggs shattered New Orleans’ Super Bowl hopes in an instant in the divisional round. It was certainly a wasted opportunity for the Saints to claim a second Lombardi Trophy.
All that aside, New Orleans should be a playoff contender again in 2018. Yes, the Saints will play in a tough NFC South, but this division should be good enough to get at least two teams in. That being said, the Saints will need to fill a few holes on their roster in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Primary needs for New Orleans are out on the edge, quarterback, as Brees isn’t getting younger, and along the defensive line. Secondary needs include wide receiver, cornerback and center. The Saints could also use a linebacker and another wide receiver in the later rounds. Here is the latest 2018 NFL mock draft for the Saints.
DL, Florida Gators
Since they are picking a No. 27 in the first round, the Saints are probably not going to be able to take a quarterback here. However, there are plenty of solid prospects at both defensive line and out on the edge for the Saints to grab. They could take Florida Gators defensive lineman Taven Bryan at the end of round one.
Bryan is 6-foot-4, 291 pounds. He has 32 3/4 inch arms and 9 3/4 inch hands. At the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Bryan ran a 4.98 40-yard dash. He put up 30 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press. His vertical jump was 35 inches and his broad jump was 119 inches. Bryan had a 3-cone time of 7.12 seconds and a 20-yard shuffle of 4.48 seconds.
In three years with the Gators, Bryan had 62 total tackles (30 solo, 32 assists), 10.5 for a loss of yardage, 5.5 quarterback sacks, three fumble recoveries, one interception, one pass breakup and one forced fumble.
Bryan’s productivity went through the roof as a junior in 2017. Keep in mind just how bad Florida was a year ago as the Jim McElwain era in Gainesville collapsed in on itself. Should the Saints load up on the defensive front-seven in this draft, they should be in good shape to repeat in a strong NFC South.
* New Orleans does not have a second round in the 2018 NFL Draft. This stems from a trade with the San Francisco 49ers during the 2017 NFL Draft. The Saints sent this year’s second-round pick to the 49ers and a seventh-round pick to move up in the third round a year ago.